Football home opener postponed to March 20 due to COVID-19 concerns

Football home opener postponed to March 20 due to COVID-19 concerns

Photo Credits: UC Davis Health Stadium during Winter Quarter 2021. (Quinn Spooner / Aggie)

CW31 will air all UC Davis home football games, and Instagram promotions will be in place this football season to boost student spirit

On Feb. 8, UC Davis Athletics announced the postponement of the Feb. 27 home-opener game against Cal Poly. 

“The game had to be rescheduled because Cal Poly had some quarantine issues with some of their team,” said Rocko DeLuca, the interim athletic director at UC Davis.

To ensure the safety of both respective teams, the game was rescheduled to the soonest safe date.

“We worked with Cal Poly and the Big Sky conference office to reschedule that game the first bye week, which is the 20th of March,” DeLuca said.

The team still plans on having their first game at Idaho on March 6.

Josh Flushman, the senior associate athletic director for The Aggies, touched on the safety precautions the team is following in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“There’s protocols that have been put in place by [National Collegiate Athletic Association] and Big Sky that we’re following,” Flushman said. “For example, when they’re on the sidelines, coaches have to wear masks. When players go to the sidelines, they will have masks on as well.”

The team will also be enforcing protocols to remain safe while traveling and playing games at home.

“We’re testing ourselves,” Flushman said. “Other schools are following the testing protocols in order to play a game here. The test results have to be attested prior to the game and travel.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the stands will look very different at football games this year.

“Unfortunately, right now, we are not anticipating any fans in attendance for football or any of our home athletic events right now,” DeLuca said. “That’s just due to the tier we’re in right now, which is red. We’re going to have to get to yellow in order to have fans in attendance.

In order to compensate for a lack of fans, The Aggies have a plan in place in order to enable Davis residents to enjoy the game from home.

“We’re going to have home football games on local TV, on CW31 for home games, as well as streaming for the away games,” DeLuca said. 

This will mark the first time in history that UC Davis Health Stadium games will be aired for local residents.

“CW31 is all about our community and what brings us together,” Justin Draper, the vice president and general manager of KOVR and KMAX-TV, said in a UC Davis article. “We look forward to our partnership with UC Davis. It’s a perfect addition to our lineup that already has Sacramento State football, the Stockton Kings and Sacramento River Cats.”

In addition to airing home games on local TV, UC Davis Athletics is striving to maintain audience enthusiasm and student spirit during difficult times.

“We’re going to try to do some interactive text to win, or promotions, especially on Instagram, for students, for all sports,” DeLuca said.

These promotions can be found on the UC Davis Athletics and UC Davis Football Instagram accounts.

COVID-19 has undoubtedly led to many changes this season. Looking forward, UC Davis Athletics anticipates that it may be awhile before everything is back to normal.

“I can’t imagine that we’ll be going back to life without any adjustments,” Flushman said. “I think we’ll see how everything plays out, but I’m sure there will be some adjustments for next fall as far as what we will be doing.”

Written by: Maddie Duley — campus@theaggie.org